The Regina Police Service would like to remind the public to be very careful about disclosing personal information or allowing strangers access to personal and financial information, especially through a personal computer. Although the details of these scams vary, the goal is always the same: perpetrators are trying to get the personal and/or financial information of the people they contact. Sometimes the contact is through e-mail with requests as blatant as asking for a photocopy of a passport or birth certificate. In other cases, the suspect goes to great lengths to try to convince the potential victim that he/she is working with a legitimate well-established corporation or financial institution.
One such report, received today, indicated that an unknown male called a female victim and identified himself as an employee of Microsoft Corporation. The caller convinced the victim that he needed to have remote access to her computer to “fix errors”. (Sometimes, the caller offers “updates” to existing software.) The victim allowed the caller remote access to her computer and then noted activity on her bank account. She immediately called her bank and froze her account; she was able to obtain a refund and the bank has opened its own investigation.
These types of scams are very difficult to investigate because they often originate in other countries. The very best defense is being alert to any request for your personal information, especially when you have not initiated the call or e-mail contact. You can always ask the caller to provide you with a phone number or some way to verify their “credentials”. Often that’s enough to discourage a scam-artist. Don’t be bullied by high-pressure tactics and, if necessary, ask a trusted friend or family member to help you check to see that your computer, your accounts, etc. are all in order and working as they should. If you feel you’ve become the victim of a crime, contact police (and other authorities) immediately.
Our wish to you: Have a scam-free weekend!